Legacy Spots Unearth SCUM

WASHINGTON — The American Legacy Foundation today unveils an approximately $30 million campaign that literally raises the curtain on more of Big Tobacco’s alleged misdeeds. Included in the “Orange Curtain” effort is a spot that focuses on an R.J. Reynolds marketing plan from the mid-1990s that purportedly targeted gay and homeless people.

Arnold in Boston and Crispin Porter + Bogusky in Miami worked on each of the three new 30-second spots together. They introduce a new tone and focus to Legacy’s advertising, ditching the recent “Infect truth” sub-theme and dark-humored vignette style. Rather, tightly focused narrative spots warn teens about the dangers of nicotine and tobacco addiction.

“SCUM” refers to the alleged R.J. Reynolds plan without identifying the company. A teen pulls back an orange curtain, and Donald, a New York homeless man, says, “According to recently uncovered documents, a well-known tobacco company planned on boosting sales of cigarettes … by specifically targeting gays and homeless people. What did they call their little plan? Project Sub-Culture Urban Marketing, also known as Project SCUM.” Donald says he was sure they meant it in a good way.

Two other spots — “Issues Book” and “Times Square Billboard” — use the same curtain device. “The thinking was, if we could unleash what we know about this industry, we will be successful,” said Pete Favat, Arnold managing partner. “Let’s give them a peek behind the curtain.”

Legacy’s $100 million account will go into review next year due to an arrangement with the Washington-based group’s board to conduct an evaluation every three to five years. Next April, Legacy will receive the last of the five $300 million payments agreed to in the Master Settlement Agreement between Big Tobacco and 46 state attorneys general. By investing $1 out of every $3 it has received, Legacy has put aside $584 million to extend the “Truth” campaign once the settlement payments end.